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Posts posted by Mr.Amiga500


    X2 - Writing your own programs and typing in BASIC listings was the way to learn Mr Miyagi style, much more effective than the class room curriculums that emerged later.


    In some ways, yes - but in other ways, no. I wrote many many programs and learned on my own - specifically because I had a low-spec computer with a pathetic amount of games. I made my own games. However, years later, when taking some of the first computer classes, I realized that my code was a spaghetti nightmare and I had to re-learn how to properly code - with commenting and proper structures. (and I eventually went back and re-wrote all my games and they were much more efficient)

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  2. If it was just about the 1200XL keyboard not being mint and perfect for this project, I could swap it with my current working 1200XL. You just inspired me, Mr.Amiga500, to go for the best possible keyboard I can since it's going to be one-of-a-kind custom build anyway and I'm going top-notch on the case anyway.


    Soon, which I have been waiting for, I'll be done remodeling my house, and with that money-pit filled, money will be no object for this project.


    Wow :thumbsup: - I used to have a similar plan, but for my Amiga 500 - with ultimate upgrades, custom case and an awesome keyboard (spherical double-shot keycaps). It was going to be an "Amiga 800XL" - Amiga awesomeness with XL beauty. But then I ran out energy, realized that it would be futile and gave up the whole idea. (yes, I give up too easily - but I'm old with only a few decades left)

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  3. we had a TI 99/4, and the chiclet keys on that i thought were pretty terrible. I learned to type actually on the 4A and I always felt the black/silver keyboard was a really good one- except for if you accidentally pressed FN-= and rebooted your dang computer lol


    Yes, if you got a General Instruments or Alps version of the TI-99/4a, they were great. The Hi-Tek/Stackpole ones weren't as good. (I have both types)


    The thing I really hated (and the reason I returned the first TI I bought from a friend) was the awful non-standard layout. FCTN-I for "?" !?! It was impossible to type properly on it. Even with the excellent switches, typing on it could produce even more errors than with a crap keyboard.



    I used to get my buddies to type in stuff. A penny per line. After a couple hours they could rack up a buck or two. Which I then got back by charging them to play my "arcade quality" consoles like the Colecovision or Atari 800. A penny for every reset/restart, or nickel to change cartridges or load a new disk. And a whole dime to swap systems.


    Wow, I never even considered using my friends in that way. My childhood could have been so much more profitable. ;)

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  4. But maybe instead of either of those, I will find a keyboard like the one you pictured here, and build a custom 1200XL case around it instead.

    I don't think you'll have any luck with that. IBM beam spring keyboards have gone up in price 10-20 times from when I got mine. Expect a bidding war and a minimum of $1300 - if you're lucky. (one sold recently for over $2000 :-o )


    Nice vintage keyboards are getting very hard to find cheaply on eBay anymore - and even if you did find one, you'd have to find some way to convert the keyboard protocol to work with the 1200XL. It's easier and cheaper just to find another 1200XL keyboard.

  5. Yes, those keyboards I mentioned were originally 2-3 times the price of the entire Atari computer back then - and they're just keyboards!


    This is the main keyboard I use - 1980 IBM 3278 beam spring (USB converted):




    It was actually my memory of the beautiful Atari XL computers that started my obsession with finding the best keyboards ever made.


    But... I've gone too much off topic, so I'll stop ruining this thread. ;)

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  6. 1200XL keyboard feels very similar to the 800, and it feels better to the 800XL and 600XL models I have on hand, I think they are Alps, but I'd have to recheck. Yes, the 1200XL uses a membrane, but no rubber bubbles, it has plastic/rubber armature that pushes on the mylar. It feels much closer the the 800's mechanical keyboard, and I and many think better feeling.


    EDIT: I just rechecked my 600 and 800XL keyboards, both are quite nice feeling with a nice bottoming out and click, but not quite as nice to me as the 1200 or 800 keyboards. They are also flat instead of stepped, and stepped is a big personal preference to me. I can type much faster and more accurately and it feels more comfortable to me. The 600XL keyboard says AWC on the bottom and the 800XL is totally enclosed in metal shielding and has a sticker on it that says SCCO or something like that, and made in Taiwan. These XL's are night and day better compared to XE's, but not quite as good still as the 800/1200 keyboards.


    But as FJC pointed out, it is subjective. I could see why some might prefer the better of the 600/800XL keyboards to 800 or 1200 because they are flat and not stepped, for one example.


    There were 3 different Atari 800 keyboards, 6 different 600XL/800XL keyboards (see Beetle's excellent thread here), but only one version of the 1200XL keyboard. Most of the 600XL/800XL versions are stepped. One version of the 800 is Mitsumi, which is similar to the 1200XL, but two other versions are stiffer & scratchier Hi-Tek/Stackpole.


    I own every XL version keyboard except the last "Type 5" mushy Mitsumi. I do think the 1200XL is smooth, but I was mildly disappointed after all the hype. Possibly the 1200XL I tried was old. My Alps 800XL was new, never used. It felt a bit better than the 1200XL. (but as I said, I much preferred the 1200XL keycaps)


    (The thing is... ALL Atari keyboards are inferior to something like a 1970's Micro Switch SW, 1970's IBM beam spring, 1982 Victor 9000 Key Tronic, early 1980's IBM Model F, Teletype Model 40, etc... all of which I own and can compare with)

  7. The 1200XL was Atari's tipping point. At the beginning, with the 800, Atari was keeping up with Apple and Commodore PET, etc, where quality and sturdiness of build were concerned. But they were losing the battle with market share for business and education, so they were forced to concentrate more on the home computer market, so they came up with the less expensive to build 1200XL, but still quality and sturdy like an Apple II, if not expandable like one. But then out of the blue Commodore comes along with it's less expensive and cheaply built C64 and Atari was forced in light of this new competition (the Vic-20 was a beginner computer and not true competition) Atari was forced to go cheaper too, or lose the home computer market, which they did anyway, but quality had to drop to compete with Commodore at all. So keyboard quality was on a slow downward trend after the remarkable 1200XL keyboard. Of course on top of that, there were lots of critics of the 1200XL, and it got a bad rap, so they had to replace it anyway. But before Tramiel came along, they were planning the 1400XL which probably would have had a better keyboard again since it was to be a flagship model to try and get back into the business and educational market and compete with Apple again...probably too late by then though, with the Macintosh and 16-bits on the horizon. Then you get into the whole Amiga upheaval when Atari and Commodore basically swapped top engineers.


    Doesn't the 1200XL use Mitsumi "rubber dome on a stick" switches just like the C64 does? I haven't disassembled a 1200XL lately and can't find pictures to verify if they're the same.


    I would have thought that the Alps version of the 800XL would be considered the best Atari keyboard. The 1200XL has nicer keycaps, but it uses cheap membranes instead of individual soldered switches.


    The 800 keyboards that I've seen were Hi-Tek, Stackpole or Mitsumi - and all were worse switches than the Alps SKFL in that version of the 800XL.

  8. I assume not.. (but maybe they added 8 years worth of amazing upgrades to it ;))



    Have you seen this funny video?


    Funny video. I'm surprised it has only 6000 views after 11 years.


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  9. I really can’t imagine getting to the point of turning my stuff into some type of decor or have it degenerate into an exercise of nostalgic consumerism(and I am not imputing anything about others’ collections). Every time I pick up an old issue of Antic I get...ideas, and the threads in this forum are chock full of great projects. It’ll take me decades to explore it all. :)


    I didn't say I turned it into decor. It's set up, ready to use - and I do turn it on and use it. My point was that I don't have to waste my time tinkering because I've done everything that I've wanted to do - and that just seeing it there is comforting. I don't know where you got "nostalgic consumerism" from. I said my closet looks like a store - but it isn't one. (...but maybe... yessss... maybe.. [said while looking at the ceiling and rubbing chin thoughtfully] :-D )

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  10. I too have reached the limit. I've got basically everything I ever wanted. My closet looks like a computer store from 1984 with loads of new Atari stuff in boxes - backup for my main Atari stuff that's all set up, ready to use.


    After years of tinkering, upgrading, connecting, playing with my old computers, I'm starting to lose the interest. I haven't lost the nostalgia, but I've found that just by looking at them (set up nicely as if in a "70's office of the future"), I can get just as much satisfaction without wasting too much time playing around.


    (The quote "When I became a man, I put away childish toys" still haunts me... but these are manly toys)

  11. My first upgrade was Extended Basic on my Colour Computer II. Being young and stupid, I thought it would give me higher resolution graphics, not just add Basic commands to program existing graphics modes. I later realized that it was a bloody rip-off to pay $99 plus installation fees (I think another $50, and taxes) just to upgrade the Basic that should have already been installed in the computer. (it was available for at least 2 years before and came standard shortly after)

  12. I've been noticing a disturbing trend recently* - time seems to be accelerating! A year used to be a long time. Now it seems a year passes by while I'm eating a packet of peanuts. Brush my teeth - another year gone! What the hell is happening?! It's 2015?? We've gone beyond Buck Rogers' flight in 1987, somehow missed the Skynet nuclear war of 1997, passed the far future of Space 1999, and now we're in Marty McFly's alternate future (minus the 3D shark). Pretty soon we'll have to get a Blade Runner ("he say you brade runner") to kill replicants in 2019.


    Just last week... or was it 7 years ago... I became a member here to talk about Atari games I played the month before, in 1984. Now slx reminds us that in 40 years we'll all be dead. That's like 13 days in accelerated time. Oh man, life is short. I better hurry up and finish that game of Blue Max.



    *recently, meaning the last couple decades or so


    I was right! I made this comment something like 3 days ago! 2019 is already here! What the hell?! I haven't even had time to find (or become) a Blade Runner yet. Those replicants are going to kick my ass! (especially if they're Nexus 6)

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  13. By far, the most annoying thing for me typing in CoCo programs was not the horrible "melted" keyboard, but the fact that after 8 frigging hours of typing, a power failure could ruin the whole damn thing.


    That did teach me a valuable lesson though. Save often! Of course even that didn't help when reading from the tape would give "?IO ERROR". (another valuable lesson: tape SUCKS!)

  14. I never even heard of Gaplus until this thread. I guess the arcades in my area just decided to stick with Galaga instead of "upgrading".


    I suggest everyone who likes Galaga to try out Warblade. Don't go by the videos on YouTube. You can turn off unnecessary shit like music, borders, backgrounds and flashing explosions. It's very addictive. (...no, I don't make commission on sales ;))

  15. Galaxian is one of the first arcade games I could play decently. I never got into Galaga until it was featured in WarGames, when I realized it was popular. Galaga is probably the sweet spot.


    Amiga peeps seem to love an homage game called Galaga Deluxe. The author unfortunately passed away a few years ago, but was working on homages called Warblade. It's like an infinite Galaga with bosses and stuff, I can see why it would spark peoples' imagination in a certain time.

    He was working on Warblade II. Warblade was out years earlier. It's the best Galaga-like game I've played - but it's damn frustrating because it seems to punish skill and reward you if you play like shit.


    I wish I could hack the game to make it more fair.

  16. I never even heard of this ATR8000 thing until seeing this thread. I briefly got excited, thinking of running CP/M stuff on the Atari... but then I remembered how equally excited I was to run CP/M stuff on the C128 - and how horribly that turned out. I couldn't get a single damn piece of CP/M software to actually work. (reminds me of to trying to run Unix/Linux stuff on an Amiga)


    I think I'd rather use my Kaypros for CP/M and use the Atari for the fun, colourful Atari-like stuff.

  17. "Retro computer"? Do you mean vintage computer? I thought something "retro" was a modern creation that was attempting to look/act like something vintage.


    Most vintage computers didn't surprise me because I already knew about them or used them years ago. There are many computers that I love, but they didn't surprise me.


    I'd say the Kaypro pleasantly surprised me - the nice keyboard, metal case, the long persistent phosphor green screen. It has no graphics, colour or sound (other than key beep) and you can't do much with it these days, but it sure looks nice.



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  18. Here are a few more that haven't yet been mentioned.


    The DEC VT05 terminal:



    The Billings 6000 - keyboard, monitor and computer cases were chromed steel (a computer that would nicely match the Cylons from Battlestar Galactica):



    Data General Dasher



    And a weird one from Holland, the Holborn 6500:


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